Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)

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Next: Chapter Eight

Chapter Seven


“I really don’t need you on my case right now, Tom,” Jordan said shortly, turning to face his friend and lawyer again. Jordan had been too busy thinking about last night with Tiana to really focus on the last ten minutes or so of Tommy’s nagging.

“Good thing you mentioned the word “case”. Think of the law suit you’ll have on your hands if Ms. Tiana finds out you’re a fake,” Tommy said.

Jordan huffed dismissively as he went to flop into his chair behind his desk. “Don’t be ridiculous,” he growled. “You and I know that’s not possible. For one thing, I haven’t done anything wrong. Questionable, maybe, but no crime in the real sense. The lady picked me out of all the others available so it’s not like I really had anything to do with it. She wanted me, Tommy. No one else. And I gave her what she paid for.”

“Under false pretenses,” Tommy told him firmly. “She thought you were a male escort. You’re not. You might be right and she can’t sue you for this if she finds out but there’s no way she’s going to like being fooled.”

“You’re acting like I asked to be put up on that escort site,” Jordan said with deep sarcasm. Shaking his head, he looked away and tried to rein in his temper. Tommy was right on all levels but Jordan couldn’t help pointing it out that he’d been a victim here as well. He’d been set up in some way and Tiana just happened to get caught in the middle.

Now if only he’d done the honorable and sensible thing and told her the truth from day one. But being the cocky ass he was, he’d decided to play along. He hadn’t been able to resist the opportunity to get into Tiana’s bed and damned the consequences. But the fact remained that no one had forced her to choose him. She’d seen what she’d liked and gone for it. Was it so wrong that he’d provided exactly what she’d required from him?

Which was something she didn’t seem to need anymore, he thought, recalling how last night had ended. Had he managed to put her off male escorts for good? He’d really thought she’d like a man with a take-charge approach. Jordan had sensed her submissive persona even beneath her calm, professional attitude. He knew enough about women to tell when they enjoyed when a man wasn’t afraid to take control in the bedroom.

Jordan had been pretty rough at certain intervals but not once had she complained. But obviously the novelty had worn off and she was no longer interested in continuing the sex angle. Jordan told himself not to be too disappointed. He couldn’t play gigolo forever. And after the charity event she’d mentioned she needed an escort for, he was sure he’d never see her again.

Why did that fact give him a sudden clinch in his chest?

Suddenly, he realized Tommy was speaking and forced himself to listen to what the other man was saying.

“Well, we both know you never asked for any of this but you seem to be getting too much fun out of playing it out. And anyway, you no longer have to worry about being up on that site because your profile has been taken down,” Tommy informed him.

“What?” Jordan asked in surprise, sitting up. Without waiting for Tommy’s reply, he clicked on his computer and got on the Gents4Ladies site. His profile was gone. He looked up at Tommy questioningly.

“I had nothing to do with it,” Tommy told him with a shrug. “It just disappeared. I checked it out yesterday and it was gone.”

Jordan felt relieved. Whoever it was who’d put up the profile must have tired of the game or whatever. The prankster probably noticed that Jordan hadn’t pooled as much attention as was probably planned. After all, he’d only got a call from one client – Tiana. No other women in need of the services of Jordan with the money back guarantee had surfaced. Thank goodness. Maybe his reputation as a respectable financial consultant didn’t need salvaging after all.

“Any headway with finding the guilty party?” Jordan asked. He was still going to murder whoever had thought this was funny.

“My guy’s working on a few leads. We’re assuming that’s the only site you were profiled on and that your details aren’t spread around the web on other escort sites.”

Jordan groaned at Tommy’s factual words, throwing his hands up in exasperation. “Please! Get your guy on that as well. Do what you have to do to make sure I don’t end up with any of my real clients, family or friends stumbling on my pictures on any of those sites. I’ll never live it down.”

Tommy snickered, his goofy side resurfacing as he grunted, “So you’re saying your success with Tiana hasn’t opened you up to the possibilities of taking up a new past time of selling your commendable sexual favors?”

“I wouldn’t exactly term it a success,” Jordan said somewhat bitterly, staring into space.

“I’d call getting a repeat appointment a success,” Tommy rejoined with a humorous smirk. “What I don’t get it why you still went through with it. Again. Did you really have to?”

Jordan merely shook his head. Tommy would never understand. Tommy hadn’t met Tiana. He couldn’t know.

Jordan had meant it when he’d told her last night about how she made him feel. At that point he’d been very close to exposing himself. But it was true; he’d never met a woman like her who could so easily make him lose it. There was something about her that set something loose inside him. His inner beast; his primal side that was nothing like the Jordan his friends or close acquaintances knew.

He was different when he was with her; he could be himself which was weird because he’d never really known what he was capable of until he’d first made contact with her. From the first sound of her distinctive voice on the line, he’d been intrigued by her. He’d met her and it had felt like a spell had been cast.

“You aren’t that hard-up for pussy, that much I know,” Tommy went on relentlessly. “Why keep going back for more with this woman?”

Good question, Jordan thought with a deep sigh. He should have told her the truth. The moment he walked in the door yesterday. But she’d been waiting in that slinky black dress. He didn’t think. He couldn’t. He’d let his hormones lead the way and for the second time, he gave in to his darkest urges.

But he’d be lying if he claimed it was all about getting a piece of her delectably juicy pussy. Getting a woman in his bed had never been an issue for him. He was single now by choice and there was always the random booty call he could count on if the need arose. With Tiana, it was something significantly deeper. Maybe it was too soon to call it, but he called it anyway. He had a thing for her, big time. But now he’d blown any chances of being with her for real by sticking to his role of gigolo. He’d sensed she was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the procedure as she showed signs that things were getting way ahead of her. He couldn’t blame her for putting an end to it-at least the sex part.

Jordan felt a squint of hope from the fact that at least she wouldn’t mind seeing him again and spending more time with him even if just for a social event.

“Well, it’s over,” Jordan said firmly by way of response to Tommy’s last question. “I can’t explain what came over me but there it is. Thursday’s the last time I’ll get to play gigolo, I promise. And then game over.”

Tommy nodded approvingly. “But you still don’t think you should tell her the truth?”

Jordan flinched. “What would it serve? Except to complicate things further? No, I think it’s safe to just keep her blissfully in the dark. I don’t want her hurt feelings on my conscience as well.”

Jordan had enough to feel guilty about. He could categorically say he’d never done a dishonest thing in his grown up life, be it in business or personal matters. He existed in black and white and this thing with Tiana was the one gray area in his conduct and he certainly wasn’t proud of it.

He’d convinced himself in the beginning that he’d been doing her a favor but that was not enough excuse. He was wrong, plain and simple. He could never be sure how Tiana would take it but he wasn’t eager to find out.

“A week from now this would be all behind us; my one guilty secret,” Jordan said aloud almost to himself. Tommy was busy looking through his smartphone, not even listening as he suddenly frowned.

“Hey, did you say you were supposed to be with her for a charity thing on Thursday?” Tommy asked thoughtfully. “Could it be that fund-raising dinner you're meant to attend for the Beecroft Foundation?”

Jordan’s eyebrows rose. “I’m not sure. I’ll have to ask my secretary. You’re sure the Beecroft thing’s on Thursday?”

“Yeah,” Tommy said. “We both got invites last month, remember? But I’m going to be out of town by then on business and will miss the whole shindig. What are the chances it might be the same event Tiana expects you to attend with her?”

“She hasn’t emailed me yet with the details, but there’s a possibility,” Jordan said, somewhat worriedly. He was meant to deliver a brief speech at that function. He was a major sponsor of that charity and always used his links with the big corporations to gather support for its cause. Imagining that he might just have to attend the event as Tiana’s male escort made him break out inexplicably in a sweat.

Tommy was looking at him interestedly. “I think you should wait to hear from her before you start to feel concerned. It could be two different events and you’ll just have to cancel with her. But what if it’s one and the same? She’d definitely find out who you are when you give your speech. How are you going to explain that a big-time city financier mastermind is doubling as a gigolo in his spare time? Somehow, I don’t think she’ll buy it.”

Jordan placed fingers to his throbbing temples. Shit. Shit. Shit.

“Looks like you may just have to come clean after all,” Tommy said with a grunt as he sat back, looking far more pleased than the situation warranted. Jordan didn’t expect his friend to feel sorry for him but he needn’t look so smug.

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Next: Chapter Eight